GDP & Nathan's Union Website

Tom Lehman uswa12 at
Tue Aug 31 12:08:20 PDT 1999

Time out Wojtek. We are talking about a Chinese physician here who is questioning an American economic tool. For all we know in China the GDP maybe being accepted as gospel by the powers to be and not as a powerful tool with recognized limitations open for debate.

Nice job Nathan! It's hartening to see youth taking an interest in organized labor. Down at my old alma matter Rattlesnake U. the "utes" have been suggesting that I come down and referee the annual co-ed mud wrestling contest. My main condition of involvement is that the mud wrestling contest be moved back to its original location on the banks of the Elk river. Rather than using those silly inflatable wading pools used in recent years. Of course there is a safety factor here and I would not advise using the Elk before or right after a big rain. They have had a big drought in WV this summer and I don't know what condition the Elk river is in and I did read that someone drove their car into it not too long ago and drowned. Using the Kanawha river might be a little tricky because the banks are steep and there are rocks and not much mud. Also, Governor Underwood might not enjoy seeing scantily clad college students humping along the river bank across from his office. Of course if you use the silly wading pools the Governor will get an eye full anyway! Then again the banks of the Elk river up around Coonskin might be a better place to look for fossilised ass cheek imprints left by previous Rattlesnakes. So I may reconsider my position about the silly wading pools--particularly after the little incident last Friday involving Ken Hechler.

Keep up the good work,

Tom Lehman

Wojtek Sokolowski wrote:

> At 12:07 PM 8/31/99 -0400, Carl Remick wrote:
> >of American-style consumer comforts. But it's obviously a mistake to
> >see GDP gains -- with all their blindness to negative externalities --
> >as the precise equivalent of gains in a society's quality of life.
> >
> Carl, but isn't it fighting a straw man? The limitations of the GDP are
> well known and nobody would seriously argue that they are accurate
> indicators of human development. If that development is less than
> desirable, even in advanced capitalist economies - on which all of us
> agree, I suppose - it makes little sense to criticize the GDP. It is like
> smashing the speedometer because the car is going too slow or better yet,
> because the speedometer does not accurately measure the level of pollution
> caused by the vehicle.
> I think this is indicative of a certain confusion on the left - which was
> excellently summarised by jim heartfield some time ago: the main thrust of
> marxist critique of capitalism is not the level of production but the
> distribution of surplus. However, the more idealistically oriented lefties
> (esp. in the us) criticize capitalism for the destruction of their little
> "small-town" utopias - and then, if somebody mentions capitalist growth
> (which is indeed spectacular by pre-capitalist standards), they feel
> threatened and burst with indignation that capitalist growth does not
> benefit all people equally. Why is that surprising? Is the pope catholic?
> Or is it the 'sour grapes' line implicit in the third-worldist veneration
> of everything non-industrial and non-european (or north-american)?
> I guess our energies would be better spent if we devised a common political
> strategy how to change that upwardly skewed distribution of surplus,
> instead of whining that capitalist growth does not benefit everyone equally.
> wojtek
> PS. Please do not take that personally, it is about the 'whining left' in
> general that gets on my nerves lately.

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